In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat corn on a diet?” with an in-depth analysis of corn, the nutritional value of corn, the health benefits of eating corn and ways to add corn to a diet.
Can you eat corn on a diet?
Yes, you can eat corn on a diet. It can be a healthy addition to your diet as long as you consume it in moderate amounts.
What is corn?
Corn is a vegetable that is rich in starch. It is also known as maize and comes as kernels on a cob, covered by a husk.
Corn is one of the most popular vegetables with many health benefits despite having a lot of natural sugar and carbohydrates.
Kinds of corn
Corn can be found in four major types:
Sweet corn: Sweet corn comes in yellow, white, or a blend of these two colours. It has a mild sweet taste and is mostly enjoyed at picnics.
Popcorn: Before it is prepared, it has a soft, starchy centre enclosed by a hard shell. In it is a little drop of water.
When you heat popcorn in a pan or a microwave, the water content in it yields steam. Pressure from the vapours causes the kernel to pop, and the centre is forced open into a white lump.
Flint or Indian corn: This corn is harder as compared to sweet corn. It comes in different colours including red, white, blue, black, and gold and grows in Central and South America.
Dent corn: Dent corn as the name indicates has a dent in the head of each kernel. It comes in white and yellow colour and is mainly used as animal feed and in manufacturing foods, like tortilla chips and grits.
The nutritional composition of corns
One cup of corn provides:
- Calories: 177
- Carbs: 41 g
- Protein: 5.4 g
- Fat: 2.1 g
- Fibre: 4.6 g
- Thiamine: 24 per cent of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 17 per cent of the DV
- Folate: 19 per cent of the DV
- Magnesium: 11 per cent of the DV
- Potassium: 10 per cent of the DV
Most of the carbohydrate content in corn comes from starch, which can quickly raise blood sugar levels, based on how much you consume. However, it also has a high amount of fibre that can help stabilise blood sugar levels.
Due to its extraordinary nutritional profile, it can be consumed as part of a balanced diet. It is also naturally free of gluten and thus can be eaten by people who avoid gluten consumption.
On the contrary, processed corn products may not be highly nutritious, as refined oil, syrup and chips waste helpful fibre and other nutrients during manufacturing. Additionally, many processed products are rich in added salt, sugar or fat.
Benefits of eating corn to our diet
- Corn is rich in carbohydrates, and even minerals like potassium, phosphorus, iron and thiamine and vitamins like vitamin K, B, and E.
- Lack of dietary fibre has been associated with constipation, cancer, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Cornmeal provides 15% fibre, of which 9% is soluble.
- The glycaemic index of corn is quite high and hence, should be consumed in limited amounts by people with diabetes and those who are weight-conscious.
- It is gluten-free, hence is suitable for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
- Corn can improve gut health and lower the chance of catching diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- Corn has a good amount of fibre that helps to stay full for longer between meals. It also helps defend against colon cancer by feeding the healthy bacteria in the gut.
- When popped, corns may also help prevent diverticulitis.
- Corn has a good amount of vitamin C that protects from cell damage and helps to fight diseases like cancer and heart disease.
- Yellow corn provides carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for the eyes and help prevent cataracts.
The risks associated with eating corn
As corn is rich in starch, it has high sugar and carbohydrate content that can increase blood sugar. It can prove to be a healthy part of your diet if consumed in moderate amounts.
People with diabetes do not necessarily need to avoid corn but limit the amount.
Another risk associated with eating corn is that it can be contaminated with fungi that produce mycotoxins. If you consume a lot of corn contaminated with fungi, you will be more prone to certain cancers, liver and lung problems.
In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat corn on a diet?” with an in-depth analysis of corn, the nutritional value of corn, the health benefits of eating corn and ways to add corn to a diet.